May 1, 2011 Celebrates ‘May Day’

May Day 2011 Around the World

Activists flooded a central plaza in Turkey's largest city Sunday as marchers around the world demanded more jobs, better working conditions and higher wages on international workers' day.  About 200,000 workers gathered in Istanbul's Taksim Square in the largest May Day rally there since 1977, when at least 34 people died and more than 100 were injured after shooting triggered a stampede. Turkish unions weren't allowed back until last year.  Across Germany, some 420,000 people took to the streets to demand fair wages, better working conditions, and sufficient social security, the country's unions' umbrella-group, DGB said.  Union group head Michael Sommer said the high turnout was a clear message to the government that it should give up its refusal to introduce a minimum wage.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered at May Day marches around the world, which took place in cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Paris, Berlin. In many countries, May Day is synonymous with International Workers’ Day, or Labour Day, a day of political demonstrations and celebrations organised by communists, anarchists, socialists, and activist groups. The commemoration of May Day as International Workers’ Day received its inspiration from the United States, going back to the 1886 Haymarket affair, when police opened fire on striking workers and 4 people were tried and then publicly hanged for their political beliefs. The corporatist U.S. successfully tried to void May Day of its symbolism for the worker rights about 50 years ago, and the United States are one of the countries where today no bigger demonstrations take place. May Day is also a traditional holiday in many cultures. May Day is related to the Celtic festival of Beltane and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night. May Day falls exactly half of a year from November 1, another cross-quarter day which is also associated with various northern European festivals such as Samhain. May Day marks the end of the unfarmable winter half of the year in the Northern hemisphere, and it has traditionally been an occasion for popular and often raucous celebrations.

View some Incredible pictures of demonstrators around the world.

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